Son can't register 2002 Mazda Protege in Florida

Someone wrote on another thread about buying a car in Florida. That reminds me of my son’s current problem.

They made the big mistake of moving to Florida for his wife’s teaching job. Florida has been stiffing them at every point, but I will keep the posting to the current problem.

They tried to get Florida plates for their 2002 Mazda Protege. The woman in the registration office refuses to give them Florida plates. Why?

Well, the VIN plate by the windshield is held by little rivets. She told them to call some guy in Tampa and maybe he can come look at it. No one answers that phone.

She also said to just let it go on the Ohio plates. Maybe they can buy another car in that two years.

that car has well over 200,000 miles, and has been registered in at least 5 states already. Also, there is a VIN plate under the hood on the firewall with the same VIN. But, no, can’t register it in our wonderful state. Disgusting.

Does anyone have an old Mazda and can tell me if that riveted VIN on the dash is unusual?

"Well, the VIN plate by the windshield is held by little rivets."

Aren’t they all??

I don’t know. Sounds strange to me.
I told him to drive to the local Mazda dealer and talk about it.

There’s got to be more to this story. Maybe the VIN plate was removed for a windshield replacement and re-riveted.

Go to another tax collectors office and let a 2nd person check the VIN. I registered several vehicles when I moved to Florida. Every registration was a breeze and everyone that helped me was terrific. Your kids may have run across someone having a bad day that thought the VIN had been switched from another car because the rivets didn’t “look” right. They run the VIN for stolen vehicle checks whenever they issue a Florida title, anyway.

Its illegal to just “go on the Ohio plates” for more than 10 days from your first day of working in Florida or 30 days (I think) from establishing residence.

I went out and looked and the VIN plate on my 2002 Sienna is also held in by rivets.

Brings up the spectre that the DMV employee is not quite all there.

During a VIN inspection they are sometimes particular about the type of rivet used. OEM “security” type rivets should always be used when reattaching the VIN plate to an instrument panel or cowl bracket. Common aluminium rivets can get the attention of a LEO or VIN inspector.

On a vehicle this old VIN plate rivets shouldn’t be a big deal. Get a VIN inspection at a different location.

In my 50 some years of car ownership, I have never never ever had anyone from the DMV actually look at my car, let alone the VIN plate. Why would anyone in Florida leave their air conditioned office to go out in the hot sun to look at a VIN plate? More to the story?

I too am inclined to believe there’s more to the story.
However, assuming the story is complete as related, has your son contacted the DMV and enquired about an appeals process?

Florida must be really fussy about VIN plates. I watched an episode of Chasing Classic Cars where the Florida DMV folks showed up the day of the auction and demanded to inspect all the vehicles in the auction. They apparently didn’t like the fact that some of the VIN plates had new rivets holding them onto cars that had full frame-off completely stripped down restorations. They wanted all of the cars pulled from the auction.

Okay, tell me what more there could be to the story. It is easy to cast aspersions, but tell me more, please.

He has been in Florida since March. Always something wrong. Couldn’t get d/l because they lived in a motel, couldn’t find a place to rent for months. Then it was something else. Then something else.

He does not lie and he said she told him, no, because the plates had rivets and that he probably should keep driving it and plan on getting another car. Sounds pretty simple to me.

My suggestion is to find the state ombudsman. (sp).

Yep, Dr. Rocket sounds like the same problem, except I am not sure my son has ever had the windshield replaced. Maybe for you others, there is also more to Dr, Rocket’s story? Sarcasm off.

Is your son the original owner? If not, the VIN plate could have been removed and replaced. I guess he could take it to a Mazda dealer and ask them if it looks original if he hasn’t already.

Every car I’ve owned and have owned in the past had riveted VIN plates. That dash plate should match the one on the door jam.
I have no idea where Mazda hides all of their VINs but odds are the VIN is stamped into other places on the body; the firewall, underneath the rear seat, etc.

This all sounds a bit weird but then again, I’ve had to deal with a few loopy motor vehicle tage agents here in OK in the past who apparently had no clue. The state agency that oversees the tag agents are the ones who made the “no clue” suggestion…

I’ve attached the Code of Federal Regulations requirement for VIN tags. Unless Florida has more stringent requirements that supersede these, perhaps your son could use the federal regs in an appeal.

From personal experience I can say that Florida does indeed check the VIN before issuing a new title.

I’m always amazed at the nonsense involved in registering, titling, inspecting 13 year old cars with over 200K miles…The value is less than $2000, probably less than $1000…At that point, it’s time to forget titles and VIN checks…Who cares??? Insure it and put plates on it…That will be $25, NEXT!

Sorry @irlandes didn’t notice it was you. No disrespect intended. About all you can do is move up the chain of command until you can talk to someone that can over-ride a clerk.


Somebody higher up needs to tell the DMV clerk to stand the f . . k aside so they can push it through

It sounds like the DMV clerk is either misinformed or an idiot. Maybe both

Unfortunately, I’ve run into those types clerks at DMVs. I’ve also noticed that some DMV clerks get a perverse pleasure out of f . . k . . g with people, simply because they can. Sometimes the people go up to the counter, and all the paper work is there, and it’s all correct. But the DMV clerk, petty as they are, decides to send them away because they supposedly need to get something else

Sometimes, the only pleasure in life they get, is when they are able to make somebody’s life miserable, at least for a short time

Most of the DMV clerks I’ve dealt with are fairly pleasant. But there have been a few, over the years, where I just felt like yelling at them. But it wouldn’t have accomplished anything

I suspect the person performing the VIN inspection rejected the vehicle based upon evidence of tampering, perhaps because of replaced VIN tag rivets. (This would be the “more to the story” others mentioned).

It is possible that the person performing the inspection has not been trained to and is not allowed to inspect the VIN at other locations on the vehicle.

The clerk will not be able to process the application without a completed VIN verification form.

I would go to a police station and have an officer complete the inspection. There are a number of ways to get the inspection completed.

The following information is available on the Florida motor vehicle site;

*Vehicle identification number (VIN) verification is required for all USED motor vehicles not currently titled in Florida, including trailers with a weight of 2,000 pounds or more.

The VIN must be physically inspected by one of the following:
A law enforcement officer from any state.
A licensed Florida or out of state motor vehicle dealer.
NOTE: If the VIN is verified by an out of state motor vehicle dealer, the verification must be submitted on their letterhead stationery.
A Florida DMV Compliance Examiner/Inspector, DMV or tax collector employee.
A notary public commissioned by the state of Florida.
Provost Marshal (an officer who supervises the military police of a command) or a commissioned officer in active military service, with a rank of 2nd Lieutenant or higher or an LNC, “Legalman, Chief Petty Officer, E-7”.